I was really bummed that my new '88 wagon was missing it's rear cargo cover. A used one is rare, pricey, and often the wrong color. I suppose the original one is sitting in someone's garage, gathering dust, only to be unearthed decades from now with the obligatory "what the heck IS this thing?" In the meantime I've got nowhere to stash stuff safely when I'm out of the car.
I decided to make one out of 3/16" thick high density fiberboard and automotive carpet. I also removed and re-covered the fixed speaker shelves on either side of the hinged cover area, so everything would match. Total expense: about $30 + one cheap yankee's time and frustration...
I measured the space between the speaker shelves' obvious indentations and rounded it to around 39" wide, 36" deep front to back, divided into two sections. The smaller portion (that doesn't move with the hatch, locked in just behind the rear seat) was about 11" deep, the larger hinged part around 25" deep. The larger hinged section also needs a 1/2" x 12" bit removed where the cover has to fit around the "lump" for the spare tire. Since I've got a rear wiper I had to cut out a notch for the motor too. I just scored the HDF boards 2" in from the "angled" edges (front and back) and bent them the shape. I spray painted the undersides flat black. I drilled 3/4" holes about 2" in from the corners for the liftstrings.
On the underside of the cover I attached several long 1"x2" poplar boards across the width for stiffness. On the smaller panel I drilled holes in the ends of these poplar strips and glued 1/4" dowels to lock into the speaker shelves.
I then cut black automotive carpet (the kind available at cheezy wannabe auto stores, take your pick) and cut it to size. I cut two seperate panels of carpet. I made sure to leave about 1/4" overlap all round, and about 2" extra (on both panels) where the two sections meet/hinge.
I used a fantastic spray adhesive that really did everything it says on the can (how refreshing!) and doesn't stink like chemicals either. It's called "heads up super duty interior adhesive" and is designed for carpet. I suppose you could use 3M 77 or 90- but in a closed car, it would stink to high heaven.
I glued the carpet to the two boards seperately, then laid them back to back, lining up the hinge area, and riveted (I could have stitched but I'm lazy) the extra material together. On top, this gives a nice crease where the two boards meet and makes an effective hinge.
I work on a lathe for a living, so I made grommets for the liftstring holes from black plastic. I guess that's cheating but you can find big grommets like this at a fabric store I'm sure.
For the speaker shelves on the sides, they come out after removing bolts from underneath, and unplugging the speakers. I removed the speakers and seat release trim, ripped off the carpet and got to work re-tracing the shape onto the carpet.
Notice that this car is an '88 with only lap belts in the rear, and yet the holes for the three-point belts are present. Interesting.
I used the same spray adhesive, and the finished product looked better than stock, IMHO.
Here's the whole sha-bang, reinstalled.
You can see in this pic the poplar stiffening strips screwed to the underside. Most of the screws are actually from the top, countersunk to hide under the carpet.
Overall, I think it looks almost as good as stock. If I had to do it over, I'd have used grey carpet, to better match the interior. Oh well.
Thanks for reading, questions welcome. I hope this helps other folks who miss their cargo covers.
Modified by JGWarner at 7:43 PM 11-16-2009